• Tuesday, May 28, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Post office ‘not fit’ to run pay-outs for victims: Report

The Business and Trade Committee has noted that only a small portion of funds set aside for victims’ compensation has been issued so far

Thousands of Post Office owners were falsely accused of stealing from their tills after a computer malfunction in the Horizon IT system (Photo: iStock)

By: Shajil Kumar

The UK parliament’s Business and Trade Committee has listed a lot of shortcomings in the compensation plan for the postmasters wrongly prosecuted in the infamous Post Office Horizon IT scandal, according to media reports.

In its report issued on Thursday (7), the committee said the post office was not fit to run any compensation schemes and just £1 in £5 of a budget set aside for victims’ compensation has been issued so far.

The committee chief and Labour MP Liam Byrne said it was high time the cheques were sent to innocent victims, BBC reports.

The Post Office Horizon IT scandal is considered to be one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 900 sub-postmasters were wrongly prosecuted due to faulty software.

The faulty digital accounting by Horizon, developed by Fujitsu, incorrectly showed a shortfall of funds in various post offices.

Sub-postmasters and postmistresses were accused of stealing money.

Many had to shell out of their own pockets to bridge the shortfall, and those convicted went to prison.

The report states that victims continue to be wary of the Post Office that ruined their lives.

In England and Wales, around 700 post office workers were prosecuted, but 250 individuals are yet to seek redressal, The Guardian reports.

Though the Sunak government has recently increased the interim compensation payments for victims, it is unclear how the individuals, who have not come forward with their current details, can claim this.

Labour MP Kevan Jones, who has long campaigned for the victims, told The Guardian that a number of them have died, and their family members are unaware that they may have a claim.

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